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The Accidental Writer: Great Web Copy for Everyone

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Great copy is critical to the effectiveness of nearly every website. Yet often, a business owner, designer, or developer, perhaps pressured by budget and time limitations, will write the copy him- or herself. This session will tell you when that's a good idea, and when it's not. For those times when it's okay to be the "accidental writer," you'll learn quick tips for crafting effective web copy. For those times when you really need to bring in a pro, you'll learn how to work with a web writer to get the best copy for your website, as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Publié dans : Technologie
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The Accidental Writer: Great Web Copy for Everyone

  1. 1. The Accidental Writer Great Web Copy for Everyone Melanie Seibert SXSW Interactive | March 11, 2011 #accwriter
  2. 2. Hi. I’m Melanie.I like: • Web writing • Technical writing • Content strategy • You • Taco trucks
  3. 3. Flickr: jjpacres
  4. 4. Flickr: visionello
  5. 5. It depends on:• You: Do you have the traits of an effective writer? Do you understand how much time and effort you need to spend? Are you willing to spend it?• The project: Is the project suited to be your first DIY copywriting effort?
  6. 6. Flickr: Picture Perfect Pose
  7. 7. Content is NOT cheap.There’s...• The cost of writing it.• The cost of maintaining it.• The cost of NOT writing or maintaining it properly.
  8. 8. “Writing is easy: All you do is sitstaring at a blank sheet of paperuntil drops of blood form on yourforehead.”  — Gene Fowler
  9. 9. First, let’s talkabout your skills.
  10. 10. Are you a native speaker? Flickr: nicasaurusrex
  11. 11. Are you a reader? Flickr: boooooooomblastandruin
  12. 12. Do you write regularly?
  13. 13. Do you write regularly? Blog posts
  14. 14. Do you write regularly? Blog posts Articles
  15. 15. Do you write regularly? Blog posts Articles Emails, newsletters
  16. 16. Do you write regularly? Blog posts Articles Emails, newsletters Reports, briefs
  17. 17. Now, let’s lookat the project.
  18. 18. Who is the audience for the project? Flickr: adactio
  19. 19. Scope: Flickr: doviende
  20. 20. Scope:How muchcontent doyou need? Flickr: doviende
  21. 21. Say what?
  22. 22. Say what? Content strategy: “the practice of planning for content creation, delivery, and governance.” — Kristina Halvorson
  23. 23. Search: Flickr: Jeffrey Beall
  24. 24. HowSearch: important is it? Flickr: Jeffrey Beall
  25. 25. Promising projectsfor new writers• Your own portfolio/site• Small sites• Very simple apps• Sites that don’t need high search engine rankings
  26. 26. How to write good.
  27. 27. XHow to write good.
  28. 28. Flickr: s.alt
  29. 29. Charlie says:Don’t lead with your needs. livethesheendream.com
  30. 30. Give people something to do. Flickr: jaycoxfilm
  31. 31. • Buy• Join• Give• Go• Save• Find
  32. 32. Tell a story Flickr: Sugar Pond
  33. 33. awaionline.com
  34. 34. groupon.com
  35. 35. woot.com
  36. 36. got originality? * * I stole this quote from @gunsandtacos!
  37. 37. Be clear and concise. “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.” — Strunk & White, The Elements of Style
  38. 38. “Get rid of half the words on the page, then get ridof half of what’s left.” — Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think
  39. 39. Make copy scannable. Flickr: Ryan Christopher VanWilliams - NYC
  40. 40. Bold key terms.
  41. 41. Use bullets.
  42. 42. http://www.rtcmagazine.com: “XMC: Enhanced Connector Design Solves Insertion/Removal Stress”
  43. 43. The testing resulted in a recommendedchange to the host board connector, whichwas agreed upon by the working group and incorporated into the specification.http://www.rtcmagazine.com: “XMC: Enhanced Connector Design Solves Insertion/Removal Stress”
  44. 44. Don’t use passive voice. Do use short sentences. The testing resulted in a recommended change to the host board connector, which was agreed upon by the working group and incorporated into the specification. http://www.rtcmagazine.com: “XMC: Enhanced Connector Design Solves Insertion/Removal Stress”
  45. 45. Don’t use passive voice. Do use short sentences. The testing resulted in a recommended change to the host board connector, which was agreed upon by the working group and incorporated into the specification. http://www.rtcmagazine.com: “XMC: Enhanced Connector Design Solves Insertion/Removal Stress” We recommended a change to the host board connector. The working group agreed and incorporated it into the specification.
  46. 46. Revise and proof.
  47. 47. Revise and proof. huffingtonpost.com
  48. 48. Revise and proof. huffingtonpost.com huffingtonpost.com
  49. 49. Revise and proof. huffingtonpost.com huffingtonpost.com typobuddy.com
  50. 50. Recommended Reading Letting Go of the Words Ginny Redish The Elements of Style Strunk & White The Copywriter’s Handbook Bob Bly seocopywriting.com/trainingHeather Lloyd-Martin’s SEO copywriting certification course
  51. 51. Examples
  52. 52. Examples Cool sites written bydesigners and business owners.
  53. 53. sitesquared.com
  54. 54. houstonapartmenthelp.com
  55. 55. Example quirky-bird.com
  56. 56. Example quirky-bird.com
  57. 57. Example quirky-bird.com
  58. 58. How to hire a writer without wasting time or money
  59. 59. Flickr: sjcockell
  60. 60. Flickr: tillwe
  61. 61. Understand your business. “Know your goals and business, first... No amount of copy, design, or organization will save you from a bad business model, a poor understanding of your business and audience or lack of a web strategy. “...If you need someone to help you figure out what your business model is (aka, what kinds of things you offer or what your brand attributes are), it’s not time to hire a writer yet.” — Tiffani Jones Brown http://thingsthatarebrown.com/blog/2010/02/before-you-hire-a-writer/
  62. 62. What do you offer that’s unique?
  63. 63. What do you offer that’s unique? Who are your competitors?
  64. 64. What do you offer that’s unique? Who are your competitors? Who is your audience?
  65. 65. What do you offer that’s unique? Who are your competitors? Who is your audience? What do they need?
  66. 66. Value writing. Flickr: heartlover1717
  67. 67. Answer questions. Flickr: alexanderdrachmann
  68. 68. Learn more A few SXSW content panels Not my job: the ultimate content strategy smackdown Kristina Halvorson Intrigue me: writing compelling, credible content Stephanie Hay Creation, curation, and the ethics of content strategy Margot Bloomstein Content rules Ann Handley & CC Chapman
  69. 69. Thanks!Special kudos to:Tiffani Jones Brown — @ticjonesShanna Cote — @shanBarbara Aquino — @islandchick78Staci Brillhart — @imaquirkybirdLindsey White — http://hopscotchhaiku.comMolly Rodriguez — @mollyjoon
  70. 70. Chat me up! prosekiln.com @melanie_seibert

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